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Thread: who

  1. #1
    wowenglish1 is offline Senior Member
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    Default who

    If "1" and "2" have the same meaning,
    I wonder why "who" is omitted.
    1. Is this the man who you said wanted to buy my car?
    2. Is this the man you said wanted to buy my car?

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: who

    Quote Originally Posted by wowenglish1 View Post
    If "1" and "2" have the same meaning,
    I wonder why "who" is omitted.
    1. Is this the man who you said wanted to buy my car?
    2. Is this the man you said wanted to buy my car?
    So do I.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  3. #3
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: who

    Quote Originally Posted by wowenglish1 View Post
    If "1" and "2" have the same meaning,
    I wonder why "who" is omitted.
    1. Is this the man who you said wanted to buy my car?
    2. Is this the man you said wanted to buy my car?
    I don't think it has been.
    In the base sentence, "Is this the man that you said wanted to buy my car?", "that" is optional (at least in my dialect).
    It seems that if you only have sentence 2, you have to insert "who" before being able to claim [that] it had been omitted!

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: who

    Quote Originally Posted by wowenglish1 View Post
    If "1" and "2" have the same meaning,
    I wonder why "who" is omitted.
    1. Is this the man who you said wanted to buy my car?
    2. Is this the man you said wanted to buy my car?
    I can't tell you why it's been omitted by whoever chose to omit it, but both sentences are used equally and are perfectly understandable.

    Is that the girl you like?
    Is that the girl who you like?

    Where is the man you need to talk to?
    Where is the man who you need to talk to?

    That's the woman you told me has three legs.
    That's the woman who you told me has three legs.

    Note, though, that we can't always omit it. It depends on the structure of the sentence.

    Is that the girl who phoned you yesterday? = Correct.
    Is that the girl phoned you yesterday? = Incorrect.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: who

    Actually, It is one of those twisted mistakes in grammar that crops up from time to time.

    "Is this the man who (/that) you said wanted to buy my car?", is the correct form. Some people, seeing the 'you said' after the 'who' assume that 'who' must be the object of 'you said'. As a result,

    1. some will produce the incorrect (a) "Is this the man whom you said wanted to buy my car?"
    2. Others will know that 'who (that)' as object can be omitted in defining relative clauses and produce (b) "Is this the man you said wanted to boy my car?"

    If we consider the sentence as (c) "Is this the man who (you said) wanted to buy my car?", then clearly (a) and (b) are not possible.

    However, so many people produce utterances such as (b), that I think we can consider them idiomatic these days.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: who

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott;835118
    It seems that if you only have sentence 2, you have to insert "who" before being able to claim [that
    it had been omitted!
    What does this sentence mean sir?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: who

    Quote Originally Posted by wowenglish1 View Post
    If "1" and "2" have the same meaning,
    I wonder why "who" is omitted.
    1. Is this the man who you said wanted to buy my car?
    2. Is this the man you said wanted to buy my car?
    But omitting 'who' renders the sentence awkward:

    1. Is this the man who, you said, wanted to buy the car?
    2. Is this the man, you said, wanted to buy the car? awkward
    3. Is this the man wanted to buy the car? awkward
    4. Is this the man you said who wanted to buy the car?

  8. #8
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: who

    All the sentences are awkward in one way or another. One of the problems, for me, is the full "Is this the man who you said wanted to buy my car?" seems to require implied brackets (or commas) round 'you said' if we are to make real sense of it; however, in the spoken version, it is uttered as if there were not a hint of brackets. The timing, stress and intonation of that utterance are very similar to those of "Is this the man who you saw briefly before the show?", in which 'who(m)' is the direct object of the verb 'wanted', and it can be omitted.

    It is therefore not surprising that people unconsciously feel that the two sentences have the same deep structure; in real life, I suspect that very few people would notice the 'incorrect' omission of the 'who' in the first one. We'd find 'whom' a little strange - not because it is incorrect, but because not many people use 'whom' in informal speech anyway.
    Last edited by 5jj; 22-Dec-2011 at 19:40. Reason: typo
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  9. #9
    Olympian is offline Member
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    Default Re: who

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I can't tell you why it's been omitted by whoever chose to omit it, but both sentences are used equally and are perfectly understandable.

    Is that the girl you like?
    Is that the girl who you like?

    Where is the man you need to talk to?
    Where is the man who you need to talk to?

    That's the woman you told me has three legs.
    That's the woman who you told me has three legs.

    Note, though, that we can't always omit it. It depends on the structure of the sentence.

    Is that the girl who phoned you yesterday? = Correct.
    Is that the girl phoned you yesterday? = Incorrect.
    Is that the girl you like?
    Is that the girl who you like?

    Is that the girl whom you like? - is this also correct?


    Thank you

  10. #10
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    Default Re: who

    Quote Originally Posted by Olympian View Post
    Is that the girl you like?
    Is that the girl who you like?
    Is that the girl whom you like? - is this also correct?
    All three are fine. The first is the least formal, the third the most. You are unlikely to hear the third very much in normal conversation.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


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